Syria opposition spurns U.S., Russia invites in protest

CAIRO Fri Feb 22, 2013 6:48pm EST

Demonstrators hold a giant opposition flag during a protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Bustan al-Qasr district in Aleppo February 22, 2013. REUTERS/Muzaffar Salman

Demonstrators hold a giant opposition flag during a protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Bustan al-Qasr district in Aleppo February 22, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Muzaffar Salman

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CAIRO (Reuters) - The main Syrian opposition grouping has said it turned down invitations to visit Washington and Moscow to protest what it described as international silence over destruction of the ancient city of Aleppo by Syrian missile strikes.

A statement late on Friday by the Syrian National Coalition, an umbrella group of opposition political forces, said it also had suspended participation in a Friends of Syria conference of international powers due in Rome next month to protest the attacks it said have caused many civilian casualties.

"Hundreds or civilians have been killed by Scud missile strikes. Aleppo, the city and the civilization, is being destroyed systematically," the statement said.

"The Russian leadership especially bears moral and political responsibility for supplying the regime with weapons," it added, referring to Moscow's status as a leading ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"In protest of this shameful international stand, the coalition has decided to suspend its participation in the Rome conference for the Friends of Syria and decline the invitations to visit Russia and the United States."

The invitations had been extended to opposition coalition leader Mouaz Alkhatib after he met the Russian and U.S. foreign ministers in Munich this month.

The invitations were made shortly after Alkhatib offered to negotiate Assad's departure with members of the Syrian government who were not tainted by having participated in the crackdown on the 23-month-long revolt.

Rocket attacks on eastern districts of Aleppo, Syria's industrial and commercial hub, killed at least 29 people on Friday and trapped a family of 10 in the ruins of their home, opposition activists in the city said.

On Tuesday activists said at least 20 people were killed when a large missile hit the rebel-held district of Jabal Badro, also in the east of the contested city.

(Editing by Michael Roddy)

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Comments (1)
HumanFriend wrote:
Well… No one can deny that the so-called angry opposition lives outside Syria… and surely outside my city Aleppo. So, its people (even if real Syrians) are the last ones in the world to talk of what is good for Syrians in Syria and mainly in my city Aleppo. For too many months, Aleppo has been under direct attacks by tens of thousands of FOREIGN mercenaries (mostly jihadists with their long dark beards that the White House insists calling “Patriot Syrian Rebels) exported continuously into Syria (about a hundred thousand so far) from too many countries around the world and via Turkey (ally of NATO and US Army), Lebanon (half of it controlled by the White House) and Jordan (in which the CIA forces work in peace as in Iraq). Aleppo, right now, is also full of snipers planted by the foreign attackers to terrorize its millions of citizens (Muslims and Christians of all sects, also Liberals) who are protected by their National Syrian brave forces (risking their lives but claimed by the White House being loyal to Assad and not to their Syrian people from which they are). Aleppo city (as the European destructed cities in WW2) can be rebuilt soon after the foreign attackers will be defeated for good, but it may be impossible reviving a killed country and let be free and safe as it was).

Feb 23, 2013 6:18am EST  --  Report as abuse
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